Manage episode 256091793 series 2481309
But Friday, Trump called a national emergency, forced to accept that the United States won't be immune this time.
The US now has a reported 48 deaths and more than 2,100 infections, and it's beginning to look a lot like Italy on lockdown.
Now the US government has some quick and uncomfortable choices to make that could shape the health of the country in weeks from now. Many of these choices drive at the heart of what it means to be American.
Individual freedoms that many Americans hold onto so dearly will need to be compromised. Freedom of movement, to assemble and protest, and the right to privacy could be among liberties first to go in the battle to control the virus.
The sense of exceptionalism that is so engrained in the American psyche will have to be put aside. This is not a war that can be won by the world's most powerful military or bought by the world's biggest economy.
The country will be forced to adopt some sense of equality in its stratified health care system to effectively contain, or even slow, the viral spread across different people in all sorts of different groups.
Luck has played a major part in how some countries has fared with the virus so far, and if the US has any luck in this case, it is that its exposure to the virus came a little later than others.
Other countries already in the throes of their outbreaks provide useful lessons for the United States.
Tech and testing reap results
A few pointers can be learned from how South Korea has done so well to contain the virus and, conversely, why Italy has had to resort to such a paralyzing lockdown that will have enormous consequences.